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Jun 16, 2014 - 03:57 PM
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Strong Run Gets Turned Around for Brennan Newberry at Five Flags Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Jun 16, 2014 - 03:54 PM
Strong Run Gets Turned Around for Brennan Newberry at Five Flags Speedway

Brennan Newberry and the No.24 Qore-24 Hand Purifier Chevrolet Impala crew returned to Florida for the first time since the opening of the 2014 K&N Pro Series East season to compete at the home of the coveted Snowball Derby. For both driver and crew chief, John Monsam, this would be a first time visiting the high banks of Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. As always, when racing so close to sands and shores, the teams prepared for a fast day of racing and quickly changing weather conditions. When teams arrived and began to prepare for the Pensacola 150 on Friday morning, the skies opened and rain washed away the first round of practice.


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As the No.24 NTS Motorsports crew prepared to make the most of a single forty-five minute practice session, Newberry and Monsam waited out the storm talking about strategy and where they wanted to be when it came time for qualifying. As the sun peaked through the clouds and temperatures began to rapidly increase, the track was opened for the first time. Early in the session Newberry reported to his crew that he was "way to free on entry and could really use some forward drive". After multiple laps and wholesale changes to the Qore-24 Chevrolet, Monsam brought his driver to 14th on the board and placed his bet on his car getting better as track temps cooled closer to the start of the event.

As the No.24 crew worked their way to the end of pit road, just before 6:00PM, during qualifying, Newberry knew that in order to lay down a lap worthy of a starting position close to the front of the field, he would have to be aggressive with a car that was set up for a race under the lights. As the NTS Motorsports Chevrolet Impala roared to life and raced around to the checkered flag, Newberry could immediately feel the changes that his team had made since the end of practice and realized he was driving a car much more to his liking after their hours of hard work. After two laps under green, Brennan laid down a lap time of 17.486 a time that would hold up for ninth on the grid.

After autographs, introductions, and congratulating his teammate Gray Gaulding on a great run in qualifying and setting the time for the pole award, Newberry and Monsam took to their seats, one inside a Qore-24 hotrod and the other atop the pit-box, ready to bring home a strong finish for NTS Motorsports. The green flag was flown and just 26 laps into the Pensacola 150, Newberry had made his way to seventh and was battling for the top five. At lap 40 a heavy crash in turn four brought out the nights first red flag condition and gave Newberry a chance to talk with his crew about what he needed to be faster in the corner of the turns. "I'm fast early in a run, but I really need more forward drive as we get more laps on these tires", Brennan reported to Monsam while parked just off of turn four. Monsam suggested in-car adjustments and told his driver that he had a game plan to make the car turn better once he had a chance to make changes at the halfway point. When the green was displayed, after a 13 minute break, Newberry fired his way to the top five after passing a competitor on the outside of turns one and two. Knowing his car was fast but not wanting to burn up his equipment, Newberry was pacing himself as the crossed flags were displayed.

At just past the halfway point, at lap 76, cars were brought to pit road for a five minute break and a chance to refuel and pick up four fresh Goodyear tires. Newberry had made his way up to sixth by the time the crossed flags were displayed and Newberry was happy with his car early in a run but reported to his crew chief that his grip was going away fast during the last green flag run. After making a few minor adjustments, Monsam returned his driver to the track and waited to see if his decisions would pay off and make a strong car even faster.

With just under forty laps remaining, Newberry was waiting for the right time to start making his way to the front. The driver of the No.24 was laying down laps faster than the leaders and was confident he still had enough left to pick his way to the top while running just outside of the top five. Then, on lap 117, a competitor battling with Newberry battling for position, on the outside of turn two, made contact and sent Newberry spinning, bringing out the caution. Heads up driving by Newberry kept the Qore-24 Chevrolet off of the wall and the tires inflated. Monsam brought Newberry to the attention of his team for quick adjustments and a quick check of the racecar.

Monsam got Newberry off of pit road in time to keep him on the lead lap and Newberry made up positions during the final few laps of the event. After a strong showing throughout the day, Newberry was relegated to a Fourteenth place finish. The NTS Motorsports No.24 crew held their heads high leaving Pensacola knowing that they had brought a fast car and ran a clean race building on another great showing going into their next event at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.

Brennan Newberry's Post-Race Thoughts:
"Going into The Pensacola 150 I knew Five Flags Speedway would be a fun challenge for my Qore-24 Chevrolet Impala team. Due to the weather conditions we didn't get much time on track before the event started, but my crew chief John Monsam and the NTS Motorsports guys took advantage of the opportunity we had to make my racecar fast and gave me a good piece going into qualifying. We were strong throughout the event and were running in the top 5, when unfortunately we got spun from behind. I am very proud of my team and I have every confidence in John to lead us through the second half of the season. I look forward to getting back behind the wheel at Langley Speedway next week"

John Monsam's Post-Race Thoughts:
"Pensacola was an interesting weekend. With the limited practice time I was impressed at how quickly Brennan acclimated himself to the track. We only had fifty laps of total track time when the race was started. He moved up steadily worked his way inside the top five. We made adjustments at the halfway point and Brennan responded with his fastest laps of the event. Unfortunately, later in the race we were turned around by another driver and flat spotted the tires and all we could do was hang on and finish. It was a decent weekend for the NTS Motorsports Qore-24 crew but we didn't get a finish that reflected how we ran. I would like to thank Tim Bryant, Five Flags Speedway General Manager, for his hospitality. I look forward to getting to Langley Speedway in Virginia."

Start: 9th/Finish: 14th
Drivers' Points Standing: 12th (-107)
Owners Points Standing: 12th (-107)

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